Life after Marek's

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bowen012, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. bowen012

    bowen012 Chirping

    Jan 13, 2013
    North Carolina
    Unfortunately, Marek's has found its way into numerous flocks in my area (including my own). My locally purchased and unvaccinated flock was ravaged with only 2 of 7 remaining. The 2 remaining pullets so far seem strong with no signs of illness; but wondering if it's just a matter of time before they succumb or if they're going to escape the disease. This year was my first time dealing with Marek's and have some questions:

    1. - I've heard that once Marek's invades your property, that it is essentially a permanent fixture there. Is it at all likely that my 2 remaining hens (who have so signs of illness) will make it through this, or are they likely just waiting their turn?

    2. - Anything to do about the disease? Any disinfectants that I can treat the coop/run/yard with to cleanse the property?

    3. - Is it possible to add vaccinated chickens to rebuild my flock?
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  2. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I hope I can help. I am no expert, and maybe the other Marek's survivors here can chime in.

    1. This is true. The extent of efforts to actually remove Marek's from a home environment are pretty extreme and well beyond the average chicken keeper's means. Even with extreme measures, it's possible to not get "all" of it or to have it return in another way. There is a chance your two remaining hens have built up a good resistance to Marek's and they might yet live full lives without symptoms. Or, they could succumb. It's impossible to know. Just know that stress seems to bring it on-- anything that stresses the bird and their immune system is an invitation for Marek's to flare up and take over. I'm sorry this is not exactly a clear cut answer. But yes, the might be okay. There's always a chance, especially if they are kept healthy and happy.

    2. Well, what I and others have done is to disinfect as much as possible, and just try to keep things clean and the birds from being stressed. You can't hope to eliminate the virus from the area where you've had birds, but you sure can reduce it. It's shed in the dander of chickens. What I did was buy some Odoban (which is a viruicide that is shown to kill herpesvirus-- which is what Marek's is). Some people use activated Oxine. I set aside an entire day, put on some old clothes, bought a respirator and put gloves on, etc. I locked the chickens out of the coop and did a deep clean with the Odoban on every surface, then let the coop air out very well before setting it back up for the chickens. I discarded the dustbathing sand/ash/soil that the chickens used and replaced it with fresh sand and ash. There was little to be done about my yard; I value the insect life there and could hardly spray 2 acres with Odoban anyhow so again I just hoped to reduce the amount of the virus in my chicken's living areas. This also helps reduce the chance that it will blow off of my property or that I will track it somewhere on my clothing. A chicken that is symptomatic sheds a lot more of the virus than a passive carrier so the hope was to just reduce it.

    3. Yes-- some have had a lot of success with this, and some have not. It really depends on what strain or serotype of Marek's you have on your property. Unfortunately there is NO way of knowing unless you send blood or a freshly dead bird off for DNA virus testing. Essentially, there are several strains of Marek's virus. If you have type 1 on your property but the vaccine only works against type 2 (this is an example only) then you will probably have losses. Do you see what I mean?
    If you order from a hatchery, research which hatcheries use the combo vaccine that uses three vaccines-- that is the most protection you can hope to have. I have read that some hatcheries only use the combo vaccine during the highest volume months due to costs, so it may be worth doing some digging.

    I hope this helps!
    feather13 likes this.

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